Thursday, December 9, 2010

Even suberbia has predators

Living in the 'burbs, you wouldn't think random hungry critters eating your animals would be a big issue, but it is. While I don't have to deal with coyotes like they do out east, the Security/Widefield area has plenty of foxes, raccoons and skunks. 2 years ago I also learned that large hawks don't mind navigating a maze of trees, power lines, fences and clothes lines if it means a free duck dinner.

The hawk attack two years ago resulted in losing two hens, one I hatched in an incubator and raised myself and the other I had since she was three days old. Our latest attack by a predator two nights ago left me with one dead drake, a hen with an injured wing and another hen with a punctured throat.

The girls will most likely recover but we will miss our little man Cartman. We adopted him this June because he was from a different hatchery as our previous drake and would provide diversity in our breeding stock. I was delighted that he was a "perfect gentleman" as far as ducks go. He always let the girls eat first...even when favorite treats were provided. He was not rough or obnoxious during mating and he was very alert and protective of the entire flock. He even got along with our younger drake and set a good example for TJ as he went through his terrible teenager phase. Hopefully TJ learned his lessons well as he is now the flock leader by default.

Security in the pen has been beefed up and instead of letting them wander lose in the covered run all night the ducks are now getting locked in to the secure night pen. They weren't to happy about the confinement, but it is better than ending up as a midnight snack.

Hubby and I looked for clues as to what kind of varmint we are dealing with. So far we are thinking fox, but we are not sure. A few claw scratches in the fencing and a piece of white fluff stuck to the wood were all we found. Along with the secure night pen, we also set out a small have-a-heart trap we already had on hand. This should take care of anything small like a skunk, ferret or young coon.

Maybe I will have to ask Santa for a game cam set up...

1 comment:

  1. Try shaking cayenne pepper around your pen. I do this for rattlesnakes here to keep them out of the yard.